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The Frighteners (1996)

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After a tragic car accident that kills his wife, a man discovers he can communicate with the dead to con people. However, when a demonic spirit appears, he may be the only one who can stop it from killing the living and the dead.

Director:

Peter Jackson
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2,853 ( 413)
1 win & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael J. Fox ... Frank Bannister
Trini Alvarado ... Dr. Lucy Lynskey
Peter Dobson ... Ray Lynskey
John Astin ... The Judge
Jeffrey Combs ... Milton Dammers
Dee Wallace ... Patricia Ann Bradley (as Dee Wallace-Stone)
Jake Busey ... Johnny Bartlett
Chi McBride ... Cyrus
Jim Fyfe ... Stuart, Bannister's Ghostly Assistant
Troy Evans ... Sheriff Walt Perry
Julianna McCarthy Julianna McCarthy ... Old Lady Bradley
R. Lee Ermey ... Sgt. Hiles
Elizabeth Hawthorne ... Magda Rees-Jones
Angela Bloomfield ... Debra Bannister
Desmond Kelly Desmond Kelly ... Harry Sinclair
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Storyline

After a car accident in which his wife, Debra, was killed and he was injured, Frank Bannister develops psychic abilities allowing him to see, hear, and communicate with ghosts. After losing his wife, he then gave up his job as an architect, letting his unfinished "dream house" sit incomplete for years, and put these skills to use by befriending a few ghosts and getting them to haunt houses in the area to drum up work for his ghostbusting business; Then Frank proceeds to "exorcise" the houses for a fee. But when he discovers that an entity resembling the Grim Reaper is killing people, marking numbers on their forehead beforehand, Frank tries to help the people whom the Reaper is after! Written by Anthony Pereyra <hypersonic91@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Something has put the fear of death in the living and sent the dead running for their lives. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Fantasy | Horror

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for terror/violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

New Zealand | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 July 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Robert Zemeckis Presents: The Frighteners See more »

Filming Locations:

Oklahoma, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,565,495, 21 July 1996

Gross USA:

$16,759,216

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$29,359,216
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS | DTS-Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Cruise, Matthew Broderick, John Cusack and Danny DeVito were considered for the part of Frank Bannister if Michael J. Fox turned down the part. See more »

Goofs

There's no need for Frank and Melanie to go into the chapel in the abandoned hospital. They could've just gone into a church to get Johnny's ashes on sacred ground. The Chapel was the closest sacred ground to their location and they were desperate to dispose of the ashes quickly. See more »

Quotes

Sergeant Hiles: Ho-lee Jesus! Frank Bannister!
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK cinema, VHS and initial DVD versions were cut by the BBFC for a '15' certification. The bloody shot of Patricia's mother lying on a bed was slightly shortened, and Agent Milton getting his head blown off is spliced into two separate shots with a quick, rearranged insert of Frank falling backwards to tone down the gore-factor - in the US version, Milton's head is blown off in one bloody shot. These scenes were reinstated in the Director's Cut, which also has a '15' certification, after the BBFC finally waived the cuts. See more »

Connections

Featured in Dee Wallace Speaks! (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Fear The Reaper
Written by Donald Roeser
Performed by The Mutton Birds
Courtesy of Virgin Records Australasia
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Far more fantasy than horror but still enjoyable
3 September 2013 | by kannibalcorpsegrinderSee all my reviews

Accused of murder, a small-town psychic charlatan learns that his skills in dealing with the deceased are put to the test for real when the murder spree continues despite everything he can do to stop it and must keep the spirit from harming his friends.

This here turned out to be quite an infuriating and quite troubling if somewhat interesting effort. Most of this is due to the fact that the film is far more of a fantasy effort that a straight-forward horror effort which is strange considering the subject matter at hand. This is mainly found in the finale at the hospital about the subject being sent into a heavenly arena and all the different after-effects on the body being adjusted to life back on Earth, all this just makes for a rather confusing time being that the main purpose is to stop the rampage of the ghostly figure throughout the town that only he can see and believe, so the sudden influx of mystical elements that this does at the very end makes for a confusing time. As well, the fact that these scenes force the film along far longer than it really should as the lengthy running time here really kills this one in that last section, not only with the sudden influx of fantasy but the mindless need to pay off far more plot- threads than it needed. Overall, this really could've used a few minutes shaved off here by deciding to abandon a few of these plots. That said, there's a lot to like here especially the scenes of the hooded ghostly menace in action, most notably the kinetic sequence in the holding cell where the good ghosts go fight the hooded ghost and take the fight between the walls and they good barreling through the different sections of the room as the humans watch and wait for them to appear and disappear, as well as a couple stellar attacks on a moving car that look absolutely amazing, an ambush in a graveyard and finally the hospital confrontation that makes for a lot of fun, so as an action film and horror film it definitely works wonders. As well, the CGI used is actually well-done and doesn't look cheap or fake at all, and gives the ghosts a fluidity that actually comes off nicely and makes up for some of the other flaws.

Rated R: Graphic Violence and Graphic Language.


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